Mayor announces extension of farmer assistance and food distribution program
WAILUKU – Mayor Michael Victorino last week announced a five-week extension of a farmer assistance and food distribution program to help provide food to community organizations that help families and individuals in need.
“Feed My Sheep, Maui Food Bank and countless other organizations continue to put food in the hands of families impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic,” Mayor Victorino said.
“This program will help support their ongoing efforts, and I want to thank everyone who has made our county food distributions such a great success.”
Since late March, more than 6,000 bags of food have been distributed to families in need at over a dozen food distribution events in Central, South and West Maui, Upcountry, Paia-Haiku, Hana, Molokai and Lanai.
The County of Maui is committing $100,000 to the Maui Farm Bureau and $50,000 to the Hawaii Farmers Union United.
Purchased food will go to the community organizations for distribution.
“It’s a life-saver,” said Joyce Kawakami, founder of Feed My Sheep. “We now have quality food to get to people in need, and the need is immense.”
Feed My Sheep served 800 individuals in February, before the Coronavirus hit the United States, and the number of individuals served jumped to 2,600 in April.
Maui Food Bank Executive Director Rich Yust said, “We appreciate our partnership with Maui County to purchase the food necessary to meet our community’s great need.”
Since the program began in early April, the Maui County Farm Bureau has used $20,000 weekly to purchase food from local farms for food distribution sites around the county.
The Hawaii Farmers Union United has used $10,000 to set up and run online/pick-up food hubs.
Initial funding provided by the County of Maui went toward the purchase of an online ordering software package.
“I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to make our food distribution program such a great success,” Mayor Victorino said. “It’s been humbling and encouraging to see our community come together in a time of such great need.”
For more information on the Maui County Farm Bureau, visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org/.
For more information on Hawaii Farmers Union United, visit hfuuhi.org/.
For more information on Feed My Sheep, visit www.feedmysheepmaui.com/.
For more information on Maui Food Bank, visit mauifoodbank.org/.